Chapter 2: International treaties and instruments: The right to exploit the living marine resource
This chapter describes the framework of international legal instruments that have formed the basis of EU fisheries regulation. A raft of measures have been adopted by the international community to protect living marine resources and to promote environmental sustainability. However, the most significant impact of international law with regard to fisheries has been to entrench the right of States to exploit the living marine resource. Environmental measures confirm the right to extract at the maximum sustainable level, but do not elaborate how such a level is to be determined, leaving the marine resource susceptible to overexploitation. The limitation on protection is sought to be overcome through a non-binding FAO Code of Conduct which attempts to substitute a notion of a right to use the fish resource in place of the right of exploitation recognised in international law.
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